‘I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury’: White House denies involvement in Jay-Z Cuba trip

U.S. singer Beyonce (L) and her husband rapper Jay-Z walk as they leave their hotel in Havana in this April 4, 2013 file photo.  Credit: Reuters
Beyonce and Jay-Z leave their hotel in Havana on April 4.
Credit: Reuters

President Barack Obama’s spokesman has denied any White House role in allowing a visit to Cuba by rapper Jay-Z and pop star Beyonce last week, after the hip-hop mogul released a song that suggested he had presidential permission for the trip.

“I guess nothing rhymes with Treasury,” Jay Carney said to laughter among reporters, referring to the department that approved the trip as an educational mission.

“I am absolutely saying the White House, from the president on down, had nothing to do with anybody’s personal — anybody’s travel to Cuba,” Carney added. “That is something that Treasury handles.”

Jay-Z hit back at critics of his trip in a rap entitled “Open Letter,” released online Thursday, saying he was a “boy from the ‘hood but I got White House clearance.”

Jay-Z, whose real name is Shawn Carter, and wife Beyonce — both notable Obama supporters — last week visited the communist-run island nation where they celebrated their fifth wedding anniversary.

In the song, Jay-Z, 43, likens himself to folk singer Bob Dylan and challenges critics to fine him or put him in jail.

“Wanna give me jail time and a fine, fine, let me commit a real crime,” Jay-Z rapped.

The rapper also cited his close relationship with the president in the song, rapping “Obama said chill, you all going to get me impeached … chill with me on the beach.”

The visit by Jay-Z and Beyonce, which was approved by the Treasury Department as an educational trip, caused a stir in part because of the couple’s celebrity and the longstanding trade embargo against Cuba that prohibits tourism by U.S. citizens.

The couple’s trip was criticized by three Cuban-American members of Congress, all Republicans who support a hard stance on Cuba.

U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Mario Diaz-Balart said the trip was being used by the Cuban government for propaganda and assailed Jay-Z and Beyonce for exploiting Treasury Department regulations to vacation in Cuba.

Sen. Marco Rubio also said the visit highlighted the way travel programs to Cuba “have been abused by tourists.”

In a reference to the muddled politics of the Cuban embargo, Jay-Z rapped, “I’m in Cuba. I love Cubans. This Communist talk is so confusing. When it’s from China, the very mic that I’m using.”



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.